A lot of people wonder why some people can drink and never become an alcoholic and why some people can use drugs recreationally and never become addicts. Who is at risk for addiction?
So, why do some people have the disease of addiction while others do not? The disease of addiction is similar to Type 2 diabetes. Some people seem to be able to eat as much sugar as they want to and never develop diabetes, while others cannot get away with eating too much sugar, or they will develop the disease. In much the same way, alcoholism and addiction affects some people, and does not affect others. Generally, the more risk factors a person has, the more likely he or she will become an addict.
The following risk factors for addiction were developed by The Mayo Clinic:
• Family history of addiction. Drug addiction is more common in some families and likely involves the effects of many genes. If you have a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling, with alcohol or drug problems, you’re at greater risk of developing a drug addiction.
• Being male. Men are twice as likely to have problems with drugs.
• Having another psychological problem. If you have a psychological problem, such as depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, you’re more likely to become dependent on drugs.
• Peer pressure. Particularly for young people, peer pressure is a strong factor in starting to use and abuse drugs.
• Lack of family involvement. A lack of attachment with your parents may increase the risk of addiction, as can a lack of parental supervision.
• Anxiety, depression and loneliness. Using drugs can become a way of coping with these painful psychological feelings.
• Taking a highly addictive drug. Some drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, cause addiction faster than do others.
Based on this list, what do you think is the biggest risk factor for addiction?